Does a "possible" emergency trump people's right to peaceful sleep?


Decapoda
#1
Anger at early hours Amber Alert on cellphones

Anger at cellphone Amber Alerts that rouse people from their sleep is misplaced and shows the need for more public education, observers said on Tuesday.

People need to understand that the emergency alerts are only issued when police need help in finding a child they believe is in grave peril — usually the result of an abduction, they said.

Ken McBey, a professor at York University who specializes in social and behavioural elements in emergencies, said those who light up 911 to complain about the alerts are being "incredibly selfish."

"It's just one of those trade-offs: It's a matter of balancing off individual interests for what's best for society," McBey said.

"Part of this is actually shaping perceptions. To a certain degree, emergency authorities have a sales job to do. They haven't done it as well as they could have."


--

So...does a person's right to peaceful and quiet slumber end when a mother neglects to return her child to her grandmother at the specified time? And the bigger question, what obligation and responsibility do we have as individuals within society to invest in what is subjectively deemed to be an emergent situation (ie. weather emergencies, etc.)?

I'm of two minds on this matter. On one hand, there's no doubt that the safety of kids are important, and amber alerts are a useful tool to keeping kids safe. On the other hand, all of these "emergency alerts" that we're getting on our cell phones...not just amber alerts, but weather alerts, public safety announcements, and most annoyingly, testing of the alert system (false alarms)... seem to be excessively and increasingly intrusive into people's lives.

We are progressively losing our right to privacy, and it seems also our right to decide what we deem as something that rises to the classification of an emergency (amber alerts aside.) News, media, weather forecasts...reporting of everything is becoming increasingly hysterical, which seems to demand an increasingly hysterical public responses.

There was a time when people had the capacity to analyze and respond accordingly to events that unfolded before them, and were given the respect from the powers-that-be to act on their determined response. People were given the choice whether or not they felt like they should buy into proposed hysteria. Not any more, now we have cell phones that make ungodly screeching siren sounds at all hours any time someone in control of the "button" deems an event of sufficient importance. The ability to rationally analyze the significance of events has been taken away from people, and has been handed to someone of authority within " the ministry”'.

In this instance of an amber alert, it makes sense that people need to be notified. But it still doesn't sit right that the powers-that-be take complete control over my cell phone whenever they deem necessary to alert me with a shrill, jarring alert that would wake up the dead. The fact that someone would put their sleep ahead of a child's safety is an easy thing to condemn someone of, but that argument when broken down seems lazy and irresponsible as well. What about highway safety? I've been driving when this alert system has been tested, it's incredibly distracting and startling. Actually scares the crap out of a person if they're not ready for it. Is this safe practice when people are driving through the city trying to keep their attention on the traffic ahead? What about the person who just worked a long shift and has to work another shift shortly and needs their sleep to do their work safely?

It also needs to be considered that it’s not (yet) against the law to turn off your phone or be away from it. Are these people acting irresponsible as well? Are they neglecting their communal responsibility by not being attentive to potential warnings or amber alerts? Or is this just an awkward transition period while we all wait for the day when implanted communication devices become the law?

At what point does our societal responsibility to invest in subjective hysteria end, and our right to personal space and freedom begin? Is more "pubic education" the answer, or have we reached the saturation point of so called experts "educating" us on how we should think and act?
Last edited by Decapoda; 1 week ago at 04:36 PM..
 
DaSleeper
#2
My phone has the option to block all calls and messages from 10 P.M to 7 A.M. or whatever hours I chose with the exception of select friends and family members.




I can't see why the amber alerts should be able to bypass that block!


Any messages I receive during the night appear on my screen when I pick up my phone in the morning!
Last edited by DaSleeper; 1 week ago at 05:27 PM..
 
Decapoda
+1
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by DaSleeper View Post

I can't see why the amber alerts should be able to bypass that block!

Because the government has determined that it's not your decision to make. The fact that you are asking that question shows that you must be "educated" by social engineers to ensure you conform with the proper response.

Your cell phone is not a personal possession, it's increasingly becoming a tool for monitoring and controlling of societal behavior.
 
Mowich
+1
#4
The only reason I have a cell phone is because a friend gave me his old one. I've never bothered to subscribe to a plan and thus have never used it. Besides, I'd have to drive to Forest Grove before I could get a signal. After reading your very interesting and most informative missive, Dec - I doubt I will ever bother.

I shuddered when I read your description of an alert going off when you are in heavy down-town traffic. Never having heard an alert on a cell-phone, I have no idea how alarming it is but you give a pretty good description all the same. It would most certainly scare the wits out of me and very likely cause me to jerk the steering wheel or slam on the brakes in response. I also had no idea that so many different 'alerts' were being sent to cell phones and agree that they must reach a point of being intrusive. I do support the Amber Alerts and consider them to be of utmost importance when a child is missing.

I doubt I will live long enough to see the advent of 'implanted devices' but wouldn't worry too much about it anyway as it takes decades for certain types of technology readily available in cities to become so in the rural hinterlands.

"There was a time when people had the capacity to analyze and respond accordingly to events that unfolded before them, and were given the respect from the powers-that-be to act on their determined response."

There was a time when common sense was more widespread, Dec.

Were I the night shift worker or in heavy traffic - I'd turn off my phone.

Those phoning 911 and complaining need to get a grip and find an intelligent way of protesting the alerts - tieing up the 911 line is most definitely not it.

As to your question regarding societal responsibility and personal freedom, I would hope that it would always be up to the individual to decide for themselves where societal obligations end and personal freedom begins.

Reading stories such as yours makes me feel very grateful I live in a rural area.
 
Hoid
#5
yes a possible emergency trumps people's right to a peaceful sleep.
 
DaSleeper
#6
My cell phone use is limited to a couple of calls a day. I might go several days without making a cal.... To me it's really an organizer, scheduler...I call it my portable memory!
I carry it around mostly for emergencies...
An old co-worker/friend who didn't believe in cell phones was bringing a load of scap to the town dump and died of a heart attack there....
A cell phone might have saved his life!
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
+1
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by DaSleeper View Post

My phone has the option to block all calls and messages from 10 P.M to 7 A.M. or whatever hours I chose with the exception of select friends and family members.




I can't see why the amber alerts should be able to bypass that block!


Any messages I receive during the night appear on my screen when I pick up my phone in the morning!


And there is nothing that you could do asleep which would be helpful to the police.
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Hoid View Post

yes a possible emergency trumps people's right to a peaceful sleep.


How would knowing this info be helpful unless you were awake? I have no problem with issueing the alert -- just don't bypass the do not disturb.



Also in this case, they had the escape vehicle as a bus. Could they just have not called the bus company?
 
Curious Cdn
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by Decapoda View Post

Anger at early hours Amber Alert on cellphones
Anger at cellphone Amber Alerts that rouse people from their sleep is misplaced and shows the need for more public education, observers said on Tuesday.
People need to understand that the emergency alerts are only issued when police need help in finding a child they believe is in grave peril — usually the result of an abduction, they said.
Ken McBey, a professor at York University who specializes in social and behavioural elements in emergencies, said those who light up 911 to complain about the alerts are being "incredibly selfish."
"It's just one of those trade-offs: It's a matter of balancing off individual interests for what's best for society," McBey said.
"Part of this is actually shaping perceptions. To a certain degree, emergency authorities have a sales job to do. They haven't done it as well as they could have."

--
So...does a person's right to peaceful and quiet slumber end when a mother neglects to return her child to her grandmother at the specified time? And the bigger question, what obligation and responsibility do we have as individuals within society to invest in what is subjectively deemed to be an emergent situation (ie. weather emergencies, etc.)?
I'm of two minds on this matter. On one hand, there's no doubt that the safety of kids are important, and amber alerts are a useful tool to keeping kids safe. On the other hand, all of these "emergency alerts" that we're getting on our cell phones...not just amber alerts, but weather alerts, public safety announcements, and most annoyingly, testing of the alert system (false alarms)... seem to be excessively and increasingly intrusive into people's lives.
We are progressively losing our right to privacy, and it seems also our right to decide what we deem as something that rises to the classification of an emergency (amber alerts aside.) News, media, weather forecasts...reporting of everything is becoming increasingly hysterical, which seems to demand an increasingly hysterical public responses.
There was a time when people had the capacity to analyze and respond accordingly to events that unfolded before them, and were given the respect from the powers-that-be to act on their determined response. People were given the choice whether or not they felt like they should buy into proposed hysteria. Not any more, now we have cell phones that make ungodly screeching siren sounds at all hours any time someone in control of the "button" deems an event of sufficient importance. The ability to rationally analyze the significance of events has been taken away from people, and has been handed to someone of authority within " the ministry”'.
In this instance of an amber alert, it makes sense that people need to be notified. But it still doesn't sit right that the powers-that-be take complete control over my cell phone whenever they deem necessary to alert me with a shrill, jarring alert that would wake up the dead. The fact that someone would put their sleep ahead of a child's safety is an easy thing to condemn someone of, but that argument when broken down seems lazy and irresponsible as well. What about highway safety? I've been driving when this alert system has been tested, it's incredibly distracting and startling. Actually scares the crap out of a person if they're not ready for it. Is this safe practice when people are driving through the city trying to keep their attention on the traffic ahead? What about the person who just worked a long shift and has to work another shift shortly and needs their sleep to do their work safely?
It also needs to be considered that it’s not (yet) against the law to turn off your phone or be away from it. Are these people acting irresponsible as well? Are they neglecting their communal responsibility by not being attentive to potential warnings or amber alerts? Or is this just an awkward transition period while we all wait for the day when implanted communication devices become the law?
At what point does our societal responsibility to invest in subjective hysteria end, and our right to personal space and freedom begin? Is more "pubic education" the answer, or have we reached the saturation point of so called experts "educating" us on how we should think and act?

... those goddam air raid sirens too, eh?
 
Wise
#10
In theory, people's cell phones could ring if anybody calls them at any time. So, they could turn off the cell phone for the night if they really did not want to be awakened. I think it is reasonable.
 
Decapoda
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by Wise View Post

In theory, people's cell phones could ring if anybody calls them at any time. So, they could turn off the cell phone for the night if they really did not want to be awakened. I think it is reasonable.


I have do not disturb enabled from 10 pm to 6 am, have my phone on the nightstand charging and use the alarm on my phone. Do not disturb doesn't block the emergency alert system.


Why is the system mandatory...should the program be an opt in? Why should I have to turn off my phone to prevent the system from hijacking my cell? If it has been determined that we shouldn't be given a choice what notifications we are to receive, should turning off our phones be our choice, or is that deemed as equally irresponsible to requsting not to be bothered by these emergency alerts?



And why do all these social behaviour experts feel such a profound need to "re-educate" people every time the government legislates away more of our freedom to make our own choices?? Who the hell made them more qualified them than me to decide how I should or should not feel or react to someone else's crisis?
 
Jinentonix
+1
#12
Simple solution. Shut the f*cking phone off at night. Why would you leave it on all night when you're sleeping anyway? I mean it's not like it's a complicated, time consuming effort to shut it off.
 
Decapoda
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by Jinentonix View Post

Simple solution. Shut the f*cking phone off at night. Why would you leave it on all night when you're sleeping anyway? I mean it's not like it's a complicated, time consuming effort to shut it off.


I thought my explanation in the first sentence above was fairly straightforward, guess you missed it.


Kind of misses the point I'm making however. Its not about whether or not people turn their phones off when they don't want to be disturbed, but more about whether we should have a choice about what we get spammed with.
Last edited by Decapoda; 1 week ago at 11:06 PM..
 
Jinentonix
+1
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by Decapoda View Post

I thought my explanation in the first sentence above was fairly straightforward, guess you missed it.
Kind of misses the point I'm making however. Its not about whether or not people turn their phones off when they don't want to be disturbed, but more about whether we should have a choice about what we get spammed with.

Amber alerts are spam? We live in a 24 hr society. Just because you sleep when it's night doesn't mean everyone else does.
Kidnappers/child abductors don't necessarily take nights off either.
 
Decapoda
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by Jinentonix View Post

Amber alerts are spam? We live in a 24 hr society. Just because you sleep when it's night doesn't mean everyone else does.
Kidnappers/child abductors don't necessarily take nights off either.


I didn't say that. You seem a bit off your game tonight.
 
Jinentonix
+2
#16  Top Rated Post
Quote: Originally Posted by Decapoda View Post

I didn't say that. You seem a bit off your game tonight.

Your words.
Quote:

Its not about whether or not people turn their phones off when they don't want to be disturbed, but more about whether we should have a choice about what we get spammed with.

The purpose of amber alerts is to alert as many people as possible because a child may be at serious risk. But imagine if your "Do not disturb feature" actually did block alerts. You could be sleeping soundly in bed and miss a warning of a tornado headed your way. Or a flash flood, or tsunami etc.
 
taxslave
#17
My cell phone is kind of elderly but it has an off swittch. I never use it. Maybe new ones don't. OTH I have a pager that goes off at rude hrs along with the phone when such inconvenient things as someone having a jammer or their house burning down.
 
Decapoda
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by Jinentonix View Post

Your words. ..

Also my words...

Quote:

there's no doubt that the safety of kids are important, and amber alerts are a useful tool to keeping kids safe.

Quote:

We are progressively losing our right to ...decide what we deem as something that rises to the classification of an emergency (amber alerts aside.)



Quote: Originally Posted by Jinentonix View Post

The purpose of amber alerts is to alert as many people as possible because a child may be at serious risk. But imagine if your "Do not disturb feature" actually did block alerts. You could be sleeping soundly in bed and miss a warning of a tornado headed your way. Or a flash flood, or tsunami etc.


So then following your logic, it would be irresponsible for me to follow your previous recommendation and turn off my phone when I don't want to be disturbed...no?
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by Jinentonix View Post

Your words.
The purpose of amber alerts is to alert as many people as possible because a child may be at serious risk. But imagine if your "Do not disturb feature" actually did block alerts. You could be sleeping soundly in bed and miss a warning of a tornado headed your way. Or a flash flood, or tsunami etc.


They don't issue amber alerts for that.
 
taxslave
+1
#20
Highly unlikely there will be any Tsunami warnings East of Hope anyway.
 
Curious Cdn
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslave View Post

Highly unlikely there will be any Tsunami warnings East of Hope anyway.

FLASH!!There is a whole and still huge country East of Manitoba.

http://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/hali-...nt?oid=3546699
 
taxslave
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

FLASH!!There is a whole and still huge country East of Manitoba.
http://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/hali-...nt?oid=3546699

None of which will require Tsunami warnings until you get alll the way to the east coast.
 
Curious Cdn
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslave View Post

None of which will require Tsunami warnings until you get alll the way to the east coast.

... all the way to the other half of Canada ...
 
Jinentonix
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by Decapoda View Post

Also my words...
So then following your logic, it would be irresponsible for me to follow your previous recommendation and turn off my phone when I don't want to be disturbed...no?

Well yes but you clearly do NOT want to be disturbed between the hours of 10pm and 6am. I'm just saying if alerts in the middle of the night piss you off, you have two choices.
 
Jinentonix
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by IdRatherBeSkiing View Post

They don't issue amber alerts for that.

They still issue alerts. I've even gotten calls on my landline to test the emergency broadcast system. Well that and a pack of iodine pills or something in case of a nuclear emergency.